Classic Action Devilish
: Nintendo DS
: Breakout Clone
: May 9th, 2007
Remember that generic game where you have to destroy rows of static blocks by bouncing a ball off a bar at the bottom of the screen? It appears sporadically on computers as a free built in game, and more recently as "Play to Befriend a Pokémon!" on the Pokémon website as part of the Eeveelution Global Link promotion.
Classic Action Devilish isn't a pretentious game in any way. Nowhere on the packaging or in the game itself does it say that Devilish is trying to define, diverge, or evolve the old Atari classic. However by including the words "Classic Action" and the obvious parallels in gameplay, Devilish is paying homage to a timeless game that has lasted for over 35 years. It adds to Breakout by adding a fantasy element and the questionable injection of a story. You are trying to protect your kingdom from destruction at the hands of Satan. Yes, this is one of the rare games that actually says "Satan" instead of using a cheap synonym that tries to sound scary.
Graphically speaking, this game has an RPG feel to it. The graphics in this game are very similar to the first three Ys games. Right down to the fantasy backgrounds and monsters, Devilish could easily be a mini-game included in one of the many Ys remakes that have been released in the recent years. It keeps the "Classic Action" mantra intact by successfully being fashionably blocky. Outside of gameplay, Devilish has nice cut scene images that compliment the throwback graphics. These images aren't on par with newer games, but look as if they are reworkings of SNES game images.
Not only are the graphics similar to the old Ys games, the sound is as well. While not quite as clean or heroic as Ys, Devilish definitely has an iconic feel to it with its epic (dictionary "epic" not modern slang "epic") soundtrack and classic sound effects reminiscent of old consoles. Devilish's sound fits perfectly with the graphics, and a person playing this could easily feel as if they really are saving the world just by listening to the background music.
At its core Classic Action Devilish is a well made Breakout clone, but it's much more than just chipping away at a wall. Unlike most other Breakout clones, you actually travel through an area instead of staying in one spot. Devilish has five levels with most levels consisting of three chapters. On the top screen you have various static and mobile obstructions in the form of towers of skulls or monsters such as giant mosquitoes that you must hit with a ball to destroy. There are also boss battles every few levels with bosses being destroyed the same as regular monsters. The ball has two attributes, speed and power, that effect how fast you can destroy a target. You can also collect items that are dropped by enemies that can either help or hurt you. If you let the ball drop without catching it or do not clear the level within the designated time limit, the game is over. On the bottom screen you have two bars which you use to ricochet the ball in whichever direction you wish. The top bar is completely mobile, can move between the top and bottom screens, and is able to change its angle, in 45 degree increments, a full 360 degrees. The bottom bar stays on the bottom screen and can only move from side to side. It can be tricky at first, but once you get used to both bars you can really enjoy acrobatic saves and unique angles to build up power and speed.
Unfortunately there isn't much to do after completing the fifth and final level other than replaying levels to get a higher score or a better time. This is a bit of a shame, but what else is there to do in Breakout? In this sense, the game is much like other Breakout clones by being bound to its limits.
Classic Action Devilish is a refreshing spin on an old game that has been pushed to the side but never forgotten. In an age with plot twists and lifelike graphics, it's nice to revisit a gaming legend with nothing to offer other than gameplay that is both addictive and iconic. Reminiscent of a simpler time in gaming as well as in society, Classic Action Devilish is perfect game to relax with and enjoy.